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Neal calls the Shots

15 March 2013

Team news ahead of important clash

Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley appeared focused as ever at training today ahead of Saturday’s important League Two visit to Aldershot, but also refreshed along with the rest of the squad after a visit to a health farm yesterday.

Neal explained to Dons Player: “This has been planned for in the middle of a busy schedule of three games. We took the boys away after Southend and they did some pool work, hot and cold bathing which helps flush out a lot of lactic acid. We had good quality food and a bit of team bonding and the boys enjoyed it.”

However, there’s no letting up in work rate for the Dons, despite looking to head into uncharted territory of three League wins in succession as Neal added with caution “Aldershot are fighting for their lives as well as we are. Lose tomorrow, lose on Tuesday at Accrington and we are right back in it, so we’ve got to stay focused although we’ve got that little bit of a cushion and look to push on.”

 Neal revealed the extent of Dutch central defender Pim Balkestein’s injury after the 3-1 victory at Roots Hall: “Pim has got a grade one hamstring strain so he could be two to three weeks. It’s a case of assessing who is fresh and who is not. Kevin Saint-Luce picked up a dead leg the other day, but he’s trained today and Jonathan Meades is managing his situation he’s got to get through. We’ve got to look at what is the best team to put out as we have on Tuesday.”

has recovered and is able to return to his former club to give Neal cover on the bench tomorrow. Goalkeeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz wasn’t well after the trip to Southend and had to miss a scheduled London Senior Cup appearance against Cray on Wednesday night, but the Venezuelan

Beyond Aldershot, Neal has a potential headache with the news of two Dons players having received international call-ups ahead of the trip to Accrington and the following home game against Morecambe.

“It could be a big blow for us to lose Jonathan Meades to the Welsh under-21s for those two games, especially with Pim and the defensive cover issues we have got. Kelly Youga has been called up for his national team, but he’s told them he won’t be meeting up until the Wednesday after Accrington.”

Jason is happy with that and there’s nothing sinister about that other than we’re trying to get back his sharpness and fitness. This is about Jason and we still believe he’s a very good player.” The Dons boss also spoke about the next stage in the return of striker Jason Prior from injury, “We’ve had a good chat and we decided the best thing for Jason would be to go and get a little run of games somewhere on loan and that’s what we are looking at.

More immediately though the focus is very much on Saturday’s trip to Hampshire and Neal is delighted at the prospect of potentially another large army of Wimbledon fans making the short journey.

“They’re brilliant. I’m sure they will be noisy and the ones that went to Southend will have enjoyed that. I don’t think you’ll see that same sort of game, it’s going to be cagey and limited in terms of goalmouth action, but hopefully we’ll give them all something to sing about as they’ve been fantastic.” 

with top scorer Jack Midson and new left back Kelly Youga ahead of the visit to the EBB Stadium. Dons Player subscribers can now view the full video with Neal Ardley and later on today exclusive interviews


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